Try This 42-Calorie Spaghetti Swap


By: , – Bryn Mooth
4/2/2013 6:00 PM   :  127 comments   :  604,286 Views

Fall and winter squash varieties, including acorn, butternut and spaghetti, are now showing up in farmers’ markets. You’ll be delighted by how delicious, easy to prepare and versatile spaghetti squash can be.
Spaghetti squash is named for its uncanny resemblance to pasta once cooked. The squash is tasty yet neutral enough to pair with anything you would normally eat atop pasta.
And, if you're watching your carb intake, spaghetti squash should go in your cart. Take a look at how it measures up against standard noodles:
1 cup portion Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g)
Spaghetti (made with white flour)* 221 1 43
Whole-wheat spaghetti* 124 1 27
Spaghetti squash 42 0 10
* Nutrition info varies by brand. Source: SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker

Preparation: Microwave
Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds. Place in a microwave-safe baking dish, cut side up, with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Let cool; use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like strands.
Preparation: Baking
Pierce whole squash several times all over with a fork to ventilate steam. Place on a baking sheet; bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 60 to 90 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Let cool; use a fork to scrape out the strands.
Preparation: Boiling
This is the easiest method: In a pot large enough to hold the squash and water to cover it, bring the water to a boil. Carefully drop in the squash; cover and cook at a low boil for 20 to 30 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Let cool; use a fork to scrape out the strands.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash
For simple side dish, mix a spoonful of your favorite pesto into a serving of squash. Top with a bit of shredded Parmesan and perhaps a serving of roast chicken.

Spaghetti Squash with Corn
Cut the kernels from 4 ears of farm-fresh corn; saute in olive oil with chopped garlic. Add cooked spaghetti squash, a handful of toasted pine nuts and some chopped parsley. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti Squash with Butter and Garlic
This makes a terrific side dish with grilled shrimp or chicken. Melt butter in a skillet; add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add cooked spaghetti squash and a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti (Squash) and Meatballs
Swap spaghetti squash for the traditional pasta, tossed with your favorite marinara sauce and low-fat turkey meatballs.
Chef Meg’s Slow-Cooker Chicken Marinara
Cooked spaghetti squash would be the perfect base for this easy meal of boneless chicken with a chunky vegetable sauce.
Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato Sauce
A super-flavorful, all-veggie meal comes together with very little effort when you toss cooked spaghetti squash with a nearly no-cook fresh tomato sauce.
Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Tomato-Mushroom Sauce
Rich-tasting dried mushrooms, canned whole tomatoes and a touch of cream come together in this traditional Italian pasta sauce that works well with cooked spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti Squash Pancakes
Think potato pancakes but made with spaghetti squash instead, so they’re a bit lighter-tasting. Great as a side dish with grilled pork chops or chicken sausages.
What is your favorite spaghetti squash recipe?

Bryn Mooth is extending her 20-year career in publishing as an independent journalist and copywriter. She shares seasonal recipes, kitchen techniques, healthy eating tips and food wisdom on her blog

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  • 77
    I made this for the first time 2 weeks ago and LOVED it!! I have 2 more in my fridge just waiting to be eaten :) - 4/3/2013   9:48:20 PM
  • 76
    I like to toss cooked squash with a tiny bit of butter, top with grilled fish and sprinkle on parm. Yummy! - 4/3/2013   8:31:11 PM
  • 75
    I *LOVE* using spaghetti squash instead of real pasta! In fact, I LUUUUUUUURRRRVE it!! I'll micro a full HALF squash, mix in some French cut green beans (frozen, not canned), some sliced mushrooms, about 1 Tbsp of sliced black olives (gotta go easy on those), 1/2 cup of my favorite tomato sauce, and 3oz of diced baked chicken, *OR* my fave: SPICY Italian Turkey Sausage. A light dusting of grated Parmesan cheese and I've got a *perfect* 200-ish calorie dinner which leaves me feeling full and sated. It's happiness on a plate!! :-9 - 4/3/2013   6:41:29 PM
  • 74
    Thanks for the reminder. - 4/3/2013   3:17:16 PM
  • 73
    Yes, spaghetti squash is a great choice. So too is shirataki noodles. These Japanese noodles are made from an asian form of yam and are found in the produce aisle's refrigerator section or on-line. They are especially GREAT with asian dishes. I made peanut noodles the other night for about 150 calories. A serving of shiritaki is only 40 calories. Without shiritaki noodles, peanut noodles is off liits for me--too many calories... - 4/3/2013   1:49:40 PM
  • 72
    Great idea, spaghetti squash. Thanks. - 4/3/2013   12:47:37 PM
  • 71
    I love spaghetti squash! The hardest thing about preparing it is cutting it up, then putting in the microwave! It's great with any kind of sauce, not exactly pasta, but it is tasty! We've been eating it for over 30 years, and used to grow it ourselves before they sold it in the local grocery. Great recipes! - 4/3/2013   12:09:52 PM
  • 70
    It's been years since we've eaten Spaghetti Squash...time to bring it back to our table!
    Thanks! - 4/3/2013   10:29:35 AM
  • EILEENS469
    Thank you so much. I love this type of squash but have not tried it in a while. Now I will again and often. - 4/3/2013   10:03:13 AM
  • 68
    I have never been happy with spaghetti squash, I may have to try a few of these recipes to see if my taste has changed. - 4/3/2013   9:29:25 AM
  • 67
    I want to try it with the creamy tomato and mushroom sauce and also the butter and garlic! I had never tried spaghetti squash until last year and a friend gave me some. I don't eat vegetables very well but I really like this one.
    I have used it as a base for a spaghetti squash lasagna and it is very very tasty. - 4/3/2013   8:44:53 AM
  • 66
    I have never found spaghetti squash in the UK :/ - 4/3/2013   3:46:14 AM
  • 65
    They used to be easy to get here in Australia, but lately have been all but impossible to find. I bought some heirloom seeds and grew my own this year and have kept the seeds for next year. We love it just as a vegetable with pepper and a little low fat butter spread, but it's great instead of pasta. Microwave is the easiest way to cook it, just microwave until it starts to string off the skin. - 4/3/2013   3:44:14 AM
  • JMBOX1
    I plan to try this when it comes into season. - 4/3/2013   2:15:40 AM
  • 63
    I hate to cook. - 4/3/2013   12:08:21 AM
    I never tried this kind of squash since I don't know how to cook it. Thanks for the tips on how to prepare it in so many ways. - 4/2/2013   11:36:53 PM
  • 61
    Easier the whole (pierced with large meat fork) squash in the microwave oven for 10 or more minutes until it starts to feel soft. Then it can be easily cut and seeds removed. Serve or prepare in a recipe.

    Almost zero prep!!! - 4/2/2013   11:28:05 PM
  • 60
    I love this stuff! I have been eating it forever, but using it as a pasta subsitute is new to me. I always just ate it with a little bit of pepper - 4/2/2013   11:00:14 PM
  • 59
    I love spaghetti squash! We use it about every other week. I make spaghetti, alfredo, just about anything with it. I have even made Mac and Cheese using it in place of pasta. It is getting hard to find now though since winter is over. - 4/2/2013   8:34:06 PM
  • 58
    I haven't tried spaghetti squash yet, but these ideas sound really good. I also like that it is much lower in carbs. - 4/2/2013   8:12:20 PM
  • 57
    Never tried sphagetti squash I must - 4/2/2013   6:45:33 PM
    Since my husband decided to go on Low carb diet, Ive been wanting to try spaghetti squash. Add to this that my husband struggles with eating a lot of vegetables!! Amazingly, he loves SS. He even took left overs to work. The cooking tips help a lot - I had tried one, but needed more options. Will save this article and the comments. - 2/26/2013   9:05:01 AM
  • 55
    Wow. These are some great ideas to try. Never would have thought of some of these. Just starting eating that type of squash. Deliscious. - 10/30/2012   5:06:30 PM
  • 54
    My favorite Spaghetti Squash recip is with Black beans & zuchini. I got it from a magazine many years ago.
    Cook a 2# spagetti squash.
    Grill or broil 2 zucchinis cut into 1/4 inch strips. Put strands of spaghetti squash, zucchini, 2 cups of seeded tomatoes, 1 can of rinsed & drained black beans, and 2 tablespoons of basil in a large salad bowl. Mix 2 T. of olive oil, 2 T of red wine vinegaar, 1 large clove of garlic minced and about 1/2 tsp of salt ( I use less) Add to the vegetables toss gently. Can be served warm or cold. 1 1/2 veg. 1 1/2 starches 1 1/2 fat. 219 calories per serving 1/4 th of the mixture. 8 grams of fat ( 1 saturated) 12 grams of protein 34 grams of carbs, 613 mg. of sodium, and 8 grams of fiber. Delicious! my husband who hated when I used spaghetti squash in place of pasta loved this dish. (shhh it was good for him). - 10/18/2012   3:44:35 PM
  • MIZINA730
    I love the idea of using spaghetti squash with pesto. It's hard to find around here but I'll keep looking. - 10/14/2012   1:05:38 PM
  • 52
    I like it with lemon, pepper, fresh basil and parmesean Cheese. SO Good. - 10/8/2012   5:52:09 PM
  • 51
    I've never tried this. It sounds yummy. - 10/6/2012   5:40:37 AM
  • 50
    I bake spaghetti squash then toss with diced tomatoe and a little shredded italian cheese.
    I'm interested in trying the boiling method. Do you put it in the pot whole? - 10/5/2012   9:38:10 PM
  • 49
    I really enjoy spaghetti squash. I cook it whole. Used to cut and bake it in a pan with water, however, miking it whole with forked holes or knife scoring works fine. Just be sure to not over cook it. - 10/5/2012   9:28:31 PM
  • 48
    Love spaghetti squash, but then I am in love with almost any squash!!! - 10/5/2012   5:43:48 PM
  • 47
    I love this baked with evo,oregano, sea salt, fresh grd pepper topped with grd turkey w/ veggie smart pasta sauce and pop in the oven with mozzarella cheese topping to brown. Also like served with fish and brown spicey basmati rice w/soy beans. - 10/5/2012   4:21:45 PM
    All of these sound really good! The one with garlic and butter would probably be my favorite! - 10/5/2012   4:03:17 PM
  • 45
    We have enjoyed spaghetti squash for years as a substitute for pasta with tomato sauce and love it. I can't get enough squash of any kind this time of the year. We have also started using spaghetti in other ways beyond with tomato sauce and continue to enjoy this fabulous and healthy food. - 10/5/2012   1:33:55 PM
  • 44
    Me and my daughter love spaghetti squash with various toppings. I cook it in the oven sliced in half, cut side down, in a casserole dish filled with about a half inch of water. It cooks in about 30 minutes or until you can squeeze it with an oven mitt covered hand. Of course, I remove the seeds before I bake it. Yum! I look forward to this time of year just for the squash! - 10/5/2012   1:22:23 PM
  • 43
    Too bad it's called spaghetti's nothing like spaghetti. I bake it with vegetables, and I put butter on it. I also roast the seeds after they are dry.
    Sometimes I add plain baked squash to my homemade cabbage/tomato soup. - 10/5/2012   1:12:05 PM
  • 42
    Sounds delightful..I have never tried it...I will this fall:-) - 10/5/2012   12:56:59 PM
  • 41
    I adapted a Carbonara sauce by substituting ham for the bacon, and adding chopped broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Delish! - 10/5/2012   11:00:33 AM
    I have tried spaghetti squash prepared like regular spaghetti dishes but I'm not fond of it that way. However, I love spaghetti squash. What I do with mine is steam it or bake it, scrape out the "spaghetti," then toss it with spices like you would use for apple or pumpkin pie and a little butter or olive oil. It's delicious! Yes the butter/oil add calories and fat but you do need a little fat each day so I don't lose a lot of sleep over it. :) Try it, it's wonderful! - 10/5/2012   9:47:03 AM
  • 39
    I just discovered spaghetti squash a couple of weeks ago and love it. I cut it in half, scoop out seeds, spread on some garlic (the minced in a jar) all over it, salt & pepper and take 1/2 olive oil & 1/2 canola oil and spread it all over. I then put it in the oven face up at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes until done. Let it cool and then the fun part scraping to get the strands. - 10/5/2012   9:14:49 AM
  • 38
    There is no need to cut a spaghetti squash in half to microwave. Just poke it several times with a fork and sit it on a microwave safe plate. - 10/5/2012   9:09:35 AM
  • 37
    I'm gonna disagree with those people who find spaghetti squash "neutral." I think it tastes weird with tomato sauce and have to serve it with milder toppings.

    As for shirataki noodles, they're made from a product called glucomannan which is derived from the root of a plant called konjac. I know of exactly one brand that incorporates soy in any way shape or form, and that's House Foods. All other brands that I've come across are pretty much straight up glucomannan. - 10/5/2012   9:04:13 AM
  • 36
    Love spaghetti squash with a jar of Trader Joes chunky bruschetta. Has a little zing to it. Add some fresh shredded parmesan..Perfect! - 10/5/2012   9:00:36 AM
    I am saving this article for when I get some spaghetti squash this Fall. :) Great Ideas. - 10/5/2012   8:59:37 AM
  • CASEYJ884
    It is also delicious with a little bit of light cream cheese and marinara! I have always cut in half before microwaving to prevent "blow-ups" as others have mentioned. Try it! You'll like it! Also very easy to grow spaghetti squash in your garden... - 10/5/2012   8:52:36 AM
  • 33
    Orange Spaghetti Squash:
    3 lb spaghetti squash
    1 Tbsp unsalted butter
    cup orange juice
    cup parsley, mince
    1 Tbsp orange rind, juld
    Optional: mandarin orange segments
    In a kettle of boiling water boil the squash, turning it occasionally, for 1 hour; drain and cool for 10 minutes. Cut in half; discard the seeds. Scrape out flesh with tines of a fork, transferring to a serving dish, season with s&p, and dot with butter. Drizzle orange juice over squash, sprinkle with the parsley, and garnish with the rind.
    Serve hot or cold. As a cold salad, add mandarin orange segments (or diced orange pieces).
    6 servings

    - 10/5/2012   8:25:52 AM
  • 32
    I love to eat spaghetti squash with salsa. Extremely low calorie and healthy snack. It's still something I enjoy when I am low on calories and really hungry. The blend of flavors is phenomenal. But, when I microwaved my squash one time, I did not score it deep enough, so it exploded in the microwave. That squash is very sticky! What a mess! But we still laugh about it to this day. - 10/5/2012   8:22:11 AM
  • 31
    I've tried spaghetti squash several times and I just don't like it. Maybe I'll try again....tastes do change. The spaghetti squash with butter and garlic look good. I'll give that a try. - 10/5/2012   8:16:29 AM
  • 30
    so love this squash! - 10/5/2012   8:00:18 AM
  • JGRAY76
    I had spaghetti squash served to me in a very fancy and expensive restaurant as a side to grilled shrimp. It was delicious and most of my dinner guests thought it was pasta. - 10/5/2012   7:13:18 AM
  • 28
    I love spaghetti squash! So easy to make with a meaty marinara, we have it almost once a week, just like my mom used to rely on spaghetti once a week for a quick family dinner. Planning to try it with pesto next, though... Yum! - 10/5/2012   7:06:14 AM

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